Checking in with Freeride athlete Dylan Lamb – “I’m pushing to ride Darkfest”

12 april 2024, cape town, south africa | interview with mountain bike freeride athlete Dylan Lamb as published on bike network by myles kelsey

Who is Dylan Lamb?

A 21-year-old frotha, aspiring to be a professional Freeride mountain bike athlete. I also surf and skate on the side, for fun.

Where are you from and where do you live?

I am from Cape Town, South Africa and I live in the Southern Suburbs and still stay at home where I’ve been my whole life (no complaints, I love it).

What do you do for a living?

A couple things really. I am a skills coach, I’m a semi-pro Freeride athlete. I am also a talent model and do the odd film shoot.

12 april 2024, cape town, south africa | interview with mountain bike freeride athlete Dylan Lamb as published on bike network by myles kelsey

In the morning, is it cortado, tea or something else that powers you?

Tea slaps, it has always been my favourite! But Chai Lattes also hits the spot. I already have too much energy and can’t handle caffeinated drinks.

Who or what inspires you?

Locally I would say Murray Loubser & Michael February because they both have made it to the highest level in their sports and are born and bred Saffers. They showcase their skills and have stayed true to their styles without selling themselves out.  And then I think Matt Begg from New Zealand is the shit and I take a lot of inspiration from watching his riding and the same goes for Phil Atwill, who also rips so hard and I love watching him gooi down the trails on any bike he hops on!

How did you get into riding?

My Dad got me into riding. From the age of four, he made the best decision of his life (in my opinion) and got me on the bike, surfboard and skateboard.

What are your personal highlights from the last few years of riding?

Meeting rad people and making new friends who love riding bikes is number one for me. Ticking off the majority of tricks I’ve wanted to do for a long time, riding overseas with two of my best choms in Austria which was a super eye-opening experience. I also am stoked to slowly be finding out what type and style of riding I’d like to see myself doing — which still isn’t a single discipline of riding, but I’ve narrowed it down. All bikes are so fun, so it’s been a difficult decision where to put my focus.

12 april 2024, cape town, south africa | interview with mountain bike freeride athlete Dylan Lamb as published on bike network by myles kelsey

What trick, competition or achievement are you most proud of?

For me, tricks aren’t what gets me the most hyped. Don’t get me wrong they are fun to do and I’m not too focused on competitions, but I’d say frontie tuck has been the trick I’ve been most “proud” of doing. For competitions nothing yet really, as I’m still pushing to ride in Darkfest and a Crankworx event. 

Locally and internationally, freeride and big-jump-style competitions are on the up and up. Why do you think this is?

Simply because it’s just the kiffest type of riding… because you get the chance to show your own unique style of riding with minimal rules, unlike racing, although I think racing is cool too — especially if you racing for fun with your mates and not to win. 

Tell us more about the Freeride scene in SA.

There are a few dirt jump spots, but like any dirt jump spots around the world you can’t just pull up and ride. The ‘No Dig, No Ride’ rule applies, which is good, but some spots are “locals only” and they don’t take any newcomers. At my local spot, we encourage new people to join, but there’s no free pass to just pull up without putting in the work, so we have decided to make it more “public” by having dig and ride days to grow the scene within SA. Regarding freeride spots, there’s only one and it’s Hellsend Dirt Compound, which is insane, but it’s private so you have to make the most of it when there is an open day there. The Klassens (landowners) and Justin Novella are doing incredible work by allowing these open days to happen. It has helped grow the freeride scene in SA. It would be amazing to have more locations. I would say in SA the five main freeride athletes are Nic Louw, Jabsi Louw, Matt Van Rosenveld, Allesio Defranchi and myself. Theo Erlangsen too, although, he is more of a “Free-racer ” as he does World Cups and Hardline too.

What are the main challenges with being a Freeride athlete in South Africa?

For one, we could do with more facilities. Then there are international travel costs which are exorbitant.

Are there any misconceptions about Freeride?

I guess that sometimes we are not taken seriously and sometimes not even considered to be athletes.

Talk through your approach to hitting a new and big line? Step by step.

I ask advice from riders who’ve already ridden it. Then I take it one jump at a time as finding the flow from the beginning will do you better than just cranking in and hoping for the best. 

Any advice for riders wanting to get into jumping, particularly around bike setup and bike choice?

Get a dirt jump bike! It is the cheapest and simplest bike to get and maintain. It also teaches you everything you need to know about riding and will help you gain bike control quickly and will constantly keep a smile on your face. Don’t ride with clip pedals.

12 april 2024, cape town, south africa | interview with mountain bike freeride athlete Dylan Lamb as published on bike network by myles kelsey

Your favorite riding spot?

I love a few, but if I had to choose one I would have to be biased and say Soetvlei Trails (Constantia) which is my local dirt jump spot. I’ve learned so much there and ride there with my closest friends.

Tell us about your off-the-bike fitness training.

I gym as it keeps me strong and helps a lot with injury prevention, but honestly, I haven’t been going much for the last year as I’ve been riding so much that I have not had any time. And then I surf whenever I can, but that is almost a break from the intensity of riding, so I wouldn’t classify that as cross-training and would say it’s more like a relaxing activity for me. I’m ADHD, so sitting still is tricky and as a result, I’m always doing some outdoor activity — which keeps me fit. 

What are your riding hopes and goals for the rest of 2024 and beyond?

To ride in Darkfest with the other local up-and-coming Freeriders and to ride in a Crankworx event. I’m also working on getting more support from brands that would allow me to pursue my career which involves traveling, competing and content production. More simply, I hope to keep riding my bike with my friends — all day, every day. //

| Images: Keenan Meyer |

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